Release Date: Apr 29, 2016
Record label: Heavenly
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Having released four albums in the space of 18 months – and eight since forming in 2010 – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard win the award for most prolific band on the planet hands down. Although taken to their hearts by the psych rock fraternity, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard really are something of a law unto themselves. Over the course of their records to date - not to mention the band's incendiary live performances - they've happily fused elements of soul, metal, krautrock, jazz and punk into a melting pot that shows no sign of sticking to the same ingredients just yet.
The psych-rocker stereotype might be someone who sits slumped in a beanbag staring at a faulty lava lamp for years on end, but King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard boast a work ethic more Herculean than a performance-enhanced packhorse. Betraying no indication of depleting momentum, Nonagon Infinity is the Melbourne seven-piece’s eighth studio album since their 2010 formation. Any old psychedelic posse can release countless reverb-soaked rehearsal jams to embellish their sprawling Discogs entry but what makes the Gizzard so special is the way their prolificacy is matched by the quality of output.
Since the advent of digital music, all media players have been outfitted with the Repeat function—whether it’s a button on a traditional CD player, or those circular lines you click on in your iTunes app. I’m willing to bet no one has ever activated this feature on purpose, yet it always seems to mysteriously switch itself on. The effect is always jarring, the contemplative post-listen pause rudely interrupted by an abrupt jump back to the opening track.
The prolific Australian psychedelic pop combo King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard aren't the kind of band prone to repeating themselves. Over the course of their short career, they've established themselves as voracious sonic explorers who aren't afraid to take chances and never met a gimmick they didn't like. In 2015 alone they released Quarters, a jazz-prog epic featuring four songs that were each exactly ten minutes long, and the laid-back summer folk Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, which was recorded on only acoustic instruments.
Nonagon Infinity is, in a word, bonkers. Maddening. Certifiably loopy.And looping: When you've reached the end of its just-over-41-minute run, Nonagon Infinity loops seamlessly back into the first track, meaning one could ostensibly play it forever. And they might, too; with unprecedented urgency and a heaviness that King Gizzard have never quite served up before, Nonagon Infinity is no doubt an attention snagging experiment, but despite being a calculated novelty, it never feels like a gimmick.Each of these nine tunes shape shift into the next with nary a break or pause.
‘More is more’ seems to be the philosophy of seven-strong Aussie psych-rockers King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, encompassing two drummers and enough harmonica, guitar and synths to give the best of regular prog bands a run for their money. Not that King Gizzard are a regular prog band, encompassing elements of ’60s psychedelia, garage rock and balls-to-the-wall gonzoid jams. And Nonagon Infinity is their third album in a year.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have released four albums in less than two years; that lack of downtime might have resulted in an absence of transformative, life-altering experiences to insert into their lyrics, but these Australian psych-rock kooks have always been more about melody, frenzy and impact rather than compelling storytelling. There is a sense of urgency to this latest offering, as if last year’s fey and breezy LP Paper Mâché Dream Balloon acted as a process of blissed-out creative rehab. The rusty screech of Robot Stop kickstarts the record before Gamma Knife careens down a midnight motorway on a flame-streaked motorbike.
Album gimmicks can work. And yet there’s always this inherent denial behind the album format as a whole, that you better damn justify any semblance of ambition and make it as coherent as possible or face the malicious “indulgent” tag. The incredibly prolific Australian seven-piece King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have been churning out one fuzzed-out psychedelic excursion after another with a mostly satisfactory track record that is beginning to challenge John Dwyer’s longstanding tenure with Thee Oh Sees.
Melbourne garage kings ain’t stopping on eighth. King Gizzard sit at garage’s psychedelic, cosmic end, and follow their 60s inspirations in blasting out several LPs a year..
Reinvention is the calling card of bonkers Australian seven-piece King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard. They began their career four years ago with the Thee Oh Sees-inspired garage-rock of 2012’s ‘12 Bar Bruise’, and have cheerfully dabbled in bucolic freak-folk (2015’s ‘Paper Mâché Dream Balloon’) and jazzy psych (‘Quarters’, also from 2015) on their way to this, their eighth album. On ‘Nonagon Infinity’ they’re supplementing their traditional fuzz with the frenetic pace and blistering melodies of what they’ve called “the heavier sort of ’70s metal”.
You’d expect a band such as King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, with a stage-cramming seven members and a name that sounds like it was conceived by hysterical teens in a haze-filled shed, to be either all over the place or jokers of the avant-garde form. What they prove on Nonagon Infinity, their fourth full-length for the legendary Heavenly Recordings in just under a year and a half, is that they are, at least, both of those things. Usually, the fact that a band has released so much music in such a short space of time would reveal an obvious decline in the effort put into the album, and, as a result of this, the quality of the albums themselves - desperation for a creative fix interwinds with pressure, resulting in a half-arsed filler album, much to the chagrin of the band’s label and fanbase alike.